The daily ritual of oiling my body has been one that has truly added to my vitality and overall wellness. I cannot imagine going a day without taking at least 15 minutes to truly massage all the parts of my body with a super rich nourishing plant oil. It is a necessity and makes me feel so good! Using herb-infused oils is a simple, deeply healing form of self care, with effects you can feel immediately. In Ayurveda, abhyanga (self massage, with oil) is a daily practice. The Sanskrit word sneha means, both, “oil” and “love”— in essence, you are saturating yourself with love; creating feelings of stability, warmth, and comfort.
Self-massage is the act of massaging yourself. It is a ritual-- a gentle practice that involves taking the time to be with yourself, to support your mind, body, and spirit. Ayurveda recommends devoting fifteen minutes (in the morning or before bed) for self-massage, ensuring love and attention is paid to each of the tissue layers as you nourish them with a warm herbal infused oil.
Through self massage, the warm oil penetrates through deep layers of tissue in our bodies, directly accessing our nervous, lymphatic, and immune systems. By keeping the body hydrated, we keep these systems nourished and healthy. Some benefits of body oiling include:
improved musculoskeletal and nervous system health
softer, stronger, and healthier skin
relaxed muscles and pain relief
improved quality of sleep
stimulates internal organs
lubricates joints, tones tissues, and strengthens limbs
improved circulation and lymph drainage
increased energy and stamina
a well nourished whole body
Nervous System Support.
Body oiling hydrates the skin, your body’s largest organ, which is loaded with nerve endings. Hydrating the skin not only keeps your skin looking and feeling healthy, it also soothes the nervous system by keeping those nerve endings lubricated. In addition, the act of self-massage helps your muscles release tension, allowing your body to relax deeply. You may find that doing this practice before bed helps you to fall asleep more easily and wake up feeling more refreshed. Immune System Support.
Body oiling also stimulates the lymphatic system, an integral component of the body’s immune system. The lymphatic system protects the body from illness and inflammation optimally when the lymph is flowing smoothly. Self-massage with body oil gets lymph moving, cleansing the body and keeping your immune system strong. The practice of body oiling also supports the immune system indirectly by relieving stress, which has been shown to lower the body’s immune response. Other Benefits.
Additional benefits of body oiling include increased blood circulation, joint lubrication, soft and smooth skin, thick and healthy hair (when you massage your scalp), increased stamina, and decreased anxiety. For women, this is also a wonderful way to perform regular breast checks and support overall breast health.
HOW TO PERFORM SELF MASSAGE Perform abhyanga in the morning for a day of vigor and increased energy. Perform abhyanga before bed, for a more restful sleep.
Heat the oil by placing the jar in a pan of hot water, until it is a comfortable temperature for you.
Sit quietly and slow your breathing. Applying the oil, generously to your body, working your way down:
Crown of your head: work outward in a circular motion. spend some time here, to focus on your vital energy
Face: upward, circular motion on forehead, temples, cheeks, jaw, ears
Limbs (arms and legs): long, circular strokes, toward your heart
Joints (elbows and knees): circular motion toward your heart
Abdomen & chest: broad, clockwise, circular motion. On the abdomen, follow the path of the large intestine by moving up on the right side of the abdomen, then across, and down on the left side
Feet: spend a few minutes here, there are so many nerve endings
Leave oil on to penetrate for 5-15 minutes. Take a hot shower or bath to help open the pores, so the oil is absorbed even more. It’s okay to leave some of the oil on. Gently pat yourself dry.
Body oiling is an excellent way to show your body loving gratitude for all that it does for you.